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Search begins for new vice chancellor for research

November 14, 2023

Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin has appointed a 17-member search and screen committee to help identify a vice chancellor for research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Steve Ackerman, who served as vice chancellor for research and graduate education since 2019, retired in September.

William L. Murphy, professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedics and rehabilitation, will chair the search committee.

Currently known as the vice chancellor for research and graduate education, the vice chancellor for research will continue to oversee and coordinate UW­–Madison’s research enterprise, working closely with the chancellor, the provost, other vice chancellors, deans, faculty, staff, and shared governance. The position will also play a pivotal role in building a future-oriented research infrastructure that leverages UW–Madison’s history of innovation in service to the Wisconsin Idea.

To better enable this enhanced focus on research, the UW–Madison administration is working with shared governance partners on a change in reporting lines, in which the Graduate School would report to the Office of the Provost while maintaining a “dotted line” relationship with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. A first reading of these changes to Faculty Policies and Procedures occurred at the Nov. 6 Faculty Senate meeting.

“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity to propel our research enterprise forward and seek new opportunities,” says Mnookin. “With Professor Murphy’s leadership, I am confident that the search committee will identify a visionary, collaborative vice chancellor for research who will build upon UW–Madison’s reputation as a research powerhouse and further our commitment to innovation and the Wisconsin Idea.”

The search and screen committee is working with national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to identify a strong pool of candidates.

Campus community listening sessions will be held in December.

Members of the UW–Madison Vice Chancellor for Research Search and Screen Committee include:

  • Anjon Audhya; senior associate dean for basic research, biotechnology, and graduate studies for the School of Medicine & Public Health
  • Chris Bartley, managing director, Waisman Biomanufacturing
  • Meghan Chua, communications specialist, Graduate School
  • Marina Emborg, professor of medical physics
  • Elizabeth Hennessy, associate professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of History
  • Tracey Holloway, Jeff Rudd and Jeanne Bissell Professor of Energy Analysis and Policy, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
  • Mohit Gupta, associate professor of Computer Sciences
  • Laura Hernandez, professor of animal and dairy science
  • Suhjung Janet Lee, Associated Students of Madison student representative
  • Daniel Noguera, Wisconsin Distinguished Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Aaron Olver, managing director, University Research Park
  • Ian Robertson, dean, College of Engineering
  • Jenny Saffran, Rubinstein Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Letters & Science
  • Dave Schroeder, national security research strategist, Division of Information Technology and School of Computer, Data & Information Sciences
  • Susan Thibeault, Diane M. Bless Endowed Chair in Otolaryngology and professor of Surgery
  • Eric Wilcots, dean, College of Letters & Science

Questions or nominations can be directed to committee chair Murphy and Isaacson, Miller. Additional information about this search and the position description will be posted at